:: It was on this day in 1981 that the city attempted to hold its first and only World War II reenactment. The site was the field at St. Peter’s Armory, the country’s only National Guard facility named for a Catholic saint. The city mustered a majority of its male citizens for the exercise, but the reenactment of the 1943 Battle of the Kasserine Pass never happened. Early in the day of the reenactment, Councilman Stephen Townsend, playing the part of Gen. George S. Patton, was surveying his “troops” when he came upon local accountant Tim Considine, who was preparing to leave the battlefield because of a sudden migraine headache. Councilman Townsend, caught up in the moment, smacked Considine in front of a group of nurse’s assistants (there to play the part of field medics) from the local hospital who happened to be walking by. Witnesses said Councilman Townsend said something about refusing to countenance “cowards and deserters in my army.”
Word of the incident spread quickly around the battlefield, eventually making its way to Mayor Karl Montgomery, who was playing the part of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mayor Montgomery strongly suggested that Townsend apologize to the shocked accountant, which he did. The mood among the crowd was so sour after the slapping incident that Mayor Montgomery, in consultation with his advisers, canceled the event. No one was more disappointed than local butcher Gerbert Maier, who was to play the part of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.
– C. Gaines
:: February 13 marked the 122nd anniversary of the Northwestern Spotted Chipmunk’s introduction into what is now known as Heinschoft Park by Health-E-Oats magnate Oscar Heinschoft. Legend has it that Heinschoft brought in that particularly aggressive breed of chipmunk to drive out the indigenous Yellow Pine Chipmunk. Heinschoft was said to collect acorns for use as bait, despite being told many times that fish do not eat acorns. The self-proclaimed “physioligan” felt that the fiercely territorial, vaguely carnivorous spotted chipmunk would be the perfect solution to his problem.
Well, Heinschoft was victorious in his quest to rid the wooded area of Yellow Pine Chipmunks and to celebrate he hosted a city-wide acorn hunt, during which he was attacked by a particularly aggressive Spotted Chipmunk which, unfortunately, turned out to be rabid. Despite a personal visit from Louis Pasteur, Heinschoft refused any vaccine (“Against our natural orders. Let nature do with me what she will!”) and treated the disease with large quantities of Health-E-Oats, having seen a promotional opportunity. He passed less than a week later from what was described as a rampant rabies infection and malnutrition. Northwestern Spotted Chipmunks still inhabit Heinschoft Park and Health-E-Oats remain on the market, in their current incarnation- Schofty Squirrel’s Pop-Twizzy Marshmalloats.
– S. Jones